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Minnesota Catholic School Fires Second Teacher This Year for Being Gay: VIDEO


Religion and English teacher Karen Ostendorf is the second educator this year fired from Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minnesota, for being gay.

KARE11 reports:

Silent about being gay was a palatable exchange for Kristen she said until this past summer when Totino-Grace High School President Dr. Bill Hudson resigned when the school board learned he was in a same-sex relationship.

"There comes a point when the internal struggle and the reality of the work I was doing is too much," Ostendorf said of that time.

Without thinking Kristen said she stood up at a faculty staff meeting last month and told the truth.

"I heard myself saying most of you know I'm gay and I'm in a relationship with a woman," she recalled of that fateful August 21st meeting.

That sentence would seal her fate.

TotinoOstendorf tells the MinnPost:

It wasn’t planned. It was a very surreal moment when I heard myself saying the things I tried not to say. And I was at once terrified and really glad and proud. I didn’t just say, “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy,” and sit down. That really wasn’t the point of what I was saying. It was, “This is my prayer for all of us: That we mean what we do.” Then I sat down and I thought, “I wonder what’s going to happen next?” I hadn’t considered [the repercussions], but I didn’t know I was going to say what I said.

There was silence in the room. I wasn’t surprised. Nobody stands up in a room of 120 people in a Catholic school and says, “I’m in a relationship with a woman,” when you’re a woman. Afterwards I got emails from people who said, “I’m proud of you,” and “My only sadness is that I didn’t stand up and applaud or yell, ‘Amen.’ ”

I said to them, “Most of you know I’m gay.” And that’s a true statement. Afterwards, I just felt weird, like I had to get out of there. So I left and went for a walk with a friend, talked and prayed with some friends, and went home. My house was full of people in the afternoon and evening, and we ate pizza and talked, and I just waited for the other shoe to drop. I didn’t know what that would mean, but frankly I was hoping someone in a position of power at the school would show up and say, “This really sucks, but we love you.”


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  1. Were enda in place, would the school be in violation of the law?

    Posted by: woody | Sep 12, 2013 2:27:40 PM

  2. She was teaching English and Religion, the Catholic religion, in a Catholic School. What did she think would happen? Hopefully with her years of experience, as a teacher, she will be able to get a teaching job in a public school or private school that values good people over ancient dogma.

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 12, 2013 3:04:21 PM

  3. Never trust religion.

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Sep 12, 2013 3:13:07 PM

  4. Why would gays teach at Catholic schools....Does it pay more to teach at Private schools? just wondering.....

    Posted by: Ankerich | Sep 12, 2013 3:28:19 PM

  5. If they pay more than public schools.. I then have Zero sympathy....

    Posted by: Ankerich | Sep 12, 2013 3:30:59 PM

  6. She did it because she had to.

    It's going to HAUNT the people she worked with for YEARS.

    The impact will ripple-out, through time; people will remember this.

    All the Catholic-bashers that don't comprehend how diverse Catholicism is find it incomprehensible that a gay person would have anything to do with it.

    You just do not get it.

    There are Catholics that are extremely progressive that have fought for us and suffered the consequences.

    When you bash all Catholics, you bash some of our most dedicated allies, and for that you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    THIS is what brings about change, THIS is what matters; not your bitchy little queenie remarks and your sitting around doing nothing and making no personal sacrifices whatsoever.

    You're just riding on her back, and everyone like her. Someone else always does the real heavy lifting, and you crap all over them every time. I really hate some of you, you don't deserve what people have earned FOR you.

    Posted by: OMG-REALLY | Sep 12, 2013 3:40:33 PM

  7. Soon the only teachers left will be the closeted ones.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Sep 12, 2013 3:46:18 PM

  8. @Woody,

    ENDA, if it ever happens, wouldn't be applicable in this instance. According to the Supreme Court two sessions ago, parochial schools are exempt from most non-discrimination laws.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Sep 12, 2013 4:10:15 PM

  9. She was happy to support these evil people and their evil religions for all these years ! If it wasn't for people like her accepting and therefore supporting the views and policies of these hate groups they would not be so powerful and gay people could come out of the closet and be themselves ! SHE has been part of the problem for all these years. Now she needs to be part of the solution.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Sep 12, 2013 5:20:23 PM

  10. I am curious as to whether this RC school receives any federal or public monies; many private schools do -- especially in states where vouchers are used. If federal, state, or local tax monies are supporting this school, then there should be recourse for this. I don't mind paying taxes to support schools, but I DO mind if those schools which take my tax dollars are allowed to discriminate.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Sep 12, 2013 5:24:06 PM

  11. "OMG-Really", it's never the wrong thing to ridicule gods, and their followers.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 12, 2013 7:26:31 PM

  12. Randy, you're an idiot.

    I'll take people that actually DO something to support us over your kind of do-nothing know-nothing BS anytime.

    Die in a fire.

    Posted by: OMG-REALLY | Sep 12, 2013 8:24:33 PM

  13. this is happening because of that ass of an archbishop they have in the twin cities. this is the same fool who made 400,000 anti-gay marriage cds and had them sent to catholic homes.

    Posted by: woody | Sep 12, 2013 8:56:01 PM

  14. @omg-really: Most people view other identity groups as a homogeneous entity but insist that their own identity be viewed in shades of gray. We get understandably angry when someone perpetuates stereotypes about gay people. Yet, claiming that all Catholics are anti-gay is just as wrong.

    Thanks for speaking up. You're not the only person on here that understands that change usually happens from grass-roots efforts within an organization.

    Posted by: alex | Sep 12, 2013 9:47:50 PM

  15. The right shade of lipstick might have changed things.

    Posted by: Tim | Sep 12, 2013 10:23:02 PM

  16. @ OMG-REALLY

    Yes, you sound like a typical catholic, so full of hate towards anyone that has a differing opinion to your own.

    Look at you, wish death and hate on other people, you god freaks are the reason for all this hate in the first place, if it wasn't for your belief in this tripe, the hate that came from that dogma, would not exist.

    Posted by: Windswept | Sep 12, 2013 10:33:48 PM

  17. "Why would gays teach at Catholic schools....Does it pay more to teach at Private schools? just wondering.....


    Because urban public schools are dangerous hellholes as a rule.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Sep 12, 2013 11:21:41 PM

  18. The Catholic school probably pays less. But it is probably a better environment to teach in. And maybe that's where she got a job and didn't in a good public school. Maybe she is Catholic and believes in the good parts of Christianity.

    Catholic schools aren't Jesus Camp or a Yeshiva. They are normal schools with religion class.

    Do those of you critical of her or other gay person's choice of workplace work somewhere that is totally morally superior? Do you work for an industry that pollutes? For a company that sells stuff to people they don't need? For a company that badmouths unions and abuses employees? On Wall Street?

    Posted by: emjayay | Sep 13, 2013 2:14:36 AM

  19. "...and that's how 'Sue Sees It!' "

    Posted by: StudioTodd | Sep 13, 2013 2:25:24 AM

  20. Progressive Catholics are certainly not a myth. The gal at the desk next to mine is a Catholic from St. Paul and spent hundreds of hours volunteering for last year's campaign to defeat the anti-gay marriage amendment. And my folks, along with several of their friends from the same semi-rural congregation, physically broke the homophobic DVDs Nienstedt sent out.

    I myself am agnostic, but the basic fact of the matter is that it's simply illogical to blame an entire large-scale belief system for the actions of the individuals and sects who misbehave under its auspices. Yes, the haters are numerous - disturbingly numerous - in Catholicism, but they're not the only part of the pie.

    Posted by: MNBear | Sep 13, 2013 12:31:47 PM

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